Achieving an effective climate control strategy in a retail environment

Those who work in the UK Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry will already recognise that the UK’s shops and stores are areas of intensive energy usage with the requirement for high levels of heating, cooling and refrigeration. When you consider the rising cost of energy and the increased requirement of lighting as well as for fire and security systems, you begin to see more reasons why many high street shops are being forced to close their doors.

But it is poor sales as a result of growing ecommerce and high rent increases, which are blamed for the demise of the UK’s retail stores. Recent reports from the Local Data Company (LDC) and PwC have suggested that high street stores in the UK are closing at around 16 shops a day - a faster rate than ever before in the retail industry.

However, the specialised nature of retail environments, with variable daily occupancy and different requirements of heating and cooling throughout the year, requires dedicated management solutions that help reduce energy consumption and can help reduce the overhead costs of running a store. Thankfully, the HVAC industry is in a unique position to help.

The first step is for consultants, specifiers and retail building managers to devise efficient climate controls strategies that utilise the most innovative technologies and building management systems in the market.

To help develop strategies that can abate the high cost and energy consumption of retail environments in the UK, Daikin has developed the RTD-20 controls system. The intelligent system, is specifically designed for retail applications and allows indoor air conditioning units to be grouped by zone, such as the trading floor, staff room or stock room, for maximum energy efficiency. The benefits of grouping by zone is that you can adjust the system based on the occupancy patterns, footfall and usage requirements of each zone e.g. additional heat for changing room areas. This results in reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions, while maintaining excellent levels of comfort.

The controls system has pre-programmed functions and flexibility to allow for opening hours and management of zones. It is also designed to recognise faults or incorrect operation and then alert the Building Management System (BMS).
For consultants, the system can be used to match the control strategy to the store layout for services such as the air conditioning, over door air curtains, fire interlock and ventilation.

With the RTD-20, retail building managers and specifiers can fully plan the energy usage patterns of their stores, and consultants can easily replicate the design across a portfolio of stores whether it is a convenience store, a clothing or electrical retailer, either on the high street or within a shopping centre.

Moreover, the system can be programmed to learn about the specific trading conditions in which it operates, changing the heating and cooling requirements throughout the year, season by season, allowing a thought-out climate control strategy to be rolled out as soon as it is installed.

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